Ancient vines, 
modern Wines 

WINEMAKING IN IBIZA

Ibiza owes a great debt to the Phoenicians. These intrepid travellers and traders settled in Ibiza some time around 650 B.C. bringing with them knowledge of navigation, various gods and goddesses, farming systems and building methods but the gift we should all be most thankful for is wine. Thanks to the Phoenicians, Ibiza has been cultivating grapes and producing wine for over 2,700 years and by the first century, ancient Greek historians were describing the island as a land of vines. Amphorae, cups and other objects have been discovered and some archaeologists have even surmised that the majority of wine consumed on the mainland in ancient Spain was once imported from Ibiza. Today, Ibizan viticulture is alive and thriving lead by the pioneering folk at Can Rich in Ibiza’s west.

Greek historians describED the island as a land of vines.

Can Rich (pronounced Rick) is Ibiza’s only certified organic winery, producing up to 100,000 bottles of red, white and sparkling wines per year in addition to vermouth, hierbas Ibicencas, café Caleta liqueur, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and flavoured salts. The main property and bodega is located in Buscatell, not too far from Seven Pines Resort Ibiza, and provides a fascinating insight not only into winemaking but also into the history of the island. In 1995, the Riera family started to prepare the land for planting establishing the first vines in 1997 adding a further property in Ses Salines nature reserve in 2003. “We set out from the start to be completely organic,” explains owner Stella González. “At that time it was still unusual in Spain. Not many people understood the concept of organic agriculture.” This commitment to protecting their homeland is evident when visiting the lush grounds of Can Rich.

A beautifully restored 1950’s delivery truck greets you as you turn down the dusty driveway towards the 200-year-old farmhouse that is the Can Rich headquarters. “My father-in-law was a truck driver before he became a winemaker,” says Stella. “My husband and I saw this truck for sale in San Sebastian and it was the same one his father used to drive so we bought it as a surprise.” It’s a charming welcome, clearly lovingly cared for, loaded up with Can Rich barrels and sitting pride of place next to a 2000-year-old olive tree. An immaculately trim olive grove with glinting grey-green leaves, line the adjacent field and below stretch what appears to be a never-ending sea of grape vines.

"Can Rich is Ibiza’s only certified organic winery"

Can Rich is a full circle operation adhering to the strict controls required by European and Balearic organic certification. Fertiliser is made on-site from vine clippings and the residuals left over from the winemaking process. “We don’t use any chemicals,” asserts Stella. “The rules surrounding organic agriculture are very strict.” Across the two properties, there are around 40 hectares of vines and olive trees emerging out of the rich, red earth. Can Rich mainly cultivate the traditional varieties of monastrell (red) and malvasía (white), both of which were introduced to the island by the Phoenicians and now considered native. Tempranillo, merlot and cabernet sauvignon plus chardonnay round out the varieties grown providing depth of colour and flavour.

Golden in colour with notes of acacia flower, honey and dried fruits, the young blanco (white) malvasía produced at Can Rich is blended with chardonnay, creating a refreshing, silky drop perfectly attuned to Ibiza summers. The intensely golden in colour Ereso is another malvasía that comes into its own after breathing and decanting. Peach and apricot linger with a velvety sensation on the palate. This variety is also used to produce a sweet dessert wine that is cloying and lovely with a rich, buttery colour.

"Beyond the classic wines, Can Rich is known for its hierbas Ibicencas, a local liqueur made from 17 aromatic herbs and best served chilled."

Can Rich’s rosé options are beautifully matched with the classic seafood dishes of the island. The rosado is made with tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon and merlot creating a bright, fresh drop with hints of cherry and blackberry. Wonderfully sweet and dry at the same time, it’s the perfect companion to long summer lunches. The Bes rosé is made with monastrell and named after the Phoenician god of dance. This elegant bottle is brimming with complex red fruit with touches of liquorice and fennel.

For the tintos (reds) we have, the roble – an excellent table wine adaptable to a range of dishes and Yviça, which is blended with merlot, tempranillo and monastrell. It’s fresh, young and modern with a violet-ruby tint. Lively on the mouth, its acid tones and smooth tannins represent the flavours of Can Rich. Lausos is 100% cabernet sauvignon and intensely dark and spicy with hints of anise and sage. The complexity of this wine increases with breathing and offers a round, opulent tone. Of the reds, the Selección is most representative of Can Rich and Ibiza. Merlot and cabernet sauvignon gives it a violet edge with cherry highlights. Woody, fruity with slight hints of pepper and nutmeg, it’s a powerful palate brimming with plum and currant and a silky, balsamic sensation.

Stella is particularly proud of the Can Rich sparkling wines, noting that they are elaborated using classic, champenoise methods. Coming in white, rosé and extra brut rosé, what better way to celebrate Ibiza but by popping open a bottle of homegrown bubbly. Beyond these classic wines, Can Rich is known for its hierbas Ibicencas, a local liqueur traditionally served after meals which is made from 17 aromatic herbs and best served chilled. However, it’s quite difficult to choose between the hierbas and the house vermouth, so perhaps you should take some home with you along with the extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil and a selection of flavoured salts.

"what better way to celebrate Ibiza but by popping open a bottle."

Ibiza is not famous for its wine but it really should be. There are few places in the world that have the same historical attachment to viticulture. Despite the long history of winemaking on the island, it’s still a young industry in the modern day. The rich, fertile soil creates a unique terroir and a visit to Can Rich will reveal a side to the island unknown to most visitors. Talk to our guest relations team to book a tour and tasting at Can Rich and ask our sommelier for food pairing recommendations to go with your new found love of local wine. Salut!

"Ibiza is not famous for its wine but it really should be."

Comments


Related Articles

Ibiza’s artisanal heritage

03.04.2019

Wander down the cobbled streets of Dalt Vila or round the island’s vibrant markets and you’ll quickly discover that Ibiza is much more than a place to sun-worship and party: its ancient trades are still a regular facet of daily island life.

Read more >

Q&A with Sergio Moyano, F&B Assistant Manager

03.04.2019

For Sergio Moyano, F&B Assistant Manager at Seven Pines Resort Ibiza, food has been an obsession ever since he was a teenager. Born in Barcelona and raised in Granada, the seed for his love of food and drink was sown deeply – from the age of 14.

Read more >

Home-grown goodness

03.04.2019

For millennia, Ibiza’s lush fertile soil has provided the island with an abundance of fruits and vegetables. A combination of local pride and the desire for people to know more about the provenance of their food has lead to a mini food revolution.

Read more >